Josh McDaniels checks all the boxes for the Giants and they have the most attractive head coaching position among the many openings.
So, matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match?
The competition for the Giants is not the Colts or Lions or Cardinals. The competition is New England.
Can the Giants convince McDaniels to leave Tom Brady before he retires and not to wait out Bill Belichick, even if he seems to be the heir apparent? Teams have tried and failed in the past.
Warning to McDaniels: None of the four coaches who immediately succeeded Bill Parcells ever won big, a burden McDaniels may want to avoid replacing a legend in New England, especially if he doesn’t have Brady. It’s going to be much easier being next man up after Ben McAdoo and Steve Spagnuolo, who combined to win three games for the Giants.
Brady wants to play another four years. Belichick may eventually want to prove he can win without Brady, so he’s not going anywhere. If McDaniels was ever going to leave, the Giants are the team that can pull him away.
Josh McDaniels is the top candidate as NFL teams hunt for a new head coach.
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
The Giants requested permission Monday to interview McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator, and Matt Patricia, their defensive coordinator. “Those guys have done a great job for me,” Belichick said Monday.
The Colts are also in on McDaniels and the Lions are in on Patricia. The Patriots interviews will take place with new Giants GM Dave Gettleman and co-owner John Mara in either Providence or Foxborough this week during the Patriots playoff bye.
“All of that stuff usually takes cares of itself,” McDaniels said Monday. “There’s a time and place for all of that, and I’ve gone through it before, which is helpful in terms of being able to balance that and multitask it. But, my focus here when I come into this building will always be on what’s best for the Patriots and trying to do what I can to help us prepare to play our best game the next time we go out on the field.”
Gettleman also requested permission to interview Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who he knows from four years together in Carolina. Gettleman thinks highly of Wilks, but he’s been a coordinator just one season. Mara says the Giants want someone with head coaching experience or a long-time coordinator. Because the Panthers are playing in the wild-card round, the Giants can’t interview him until next week.
McDaniels is the best candidate for the Giants. It’s a quarterback league and although he’s had the benefit of working for Brady and working for Belichick, he’s creative and has adapted well with his game plans to the changing personnel Belichick gives him.
He’s ready to be a head coach again after he failed with the Broncos in 2010-11 and was let go after 28 games, exactly the number of games McAdoo lasted with the Giants. He was just 33 years old when he was hired in Denver and now is all grown up at 41. He tried to bring Belichick’s personality with him to Denver and learned that doesn’t work. He should have checked with Eric Mangini on that one.
Josh McDaniels failed in his first stint as a head coach in Denver, but he’s ready this time around.
(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Side note: After McDaniels was fired by Denver, his next job was in St. Louis as the Rams offensive coordinator in 2011. The Rams head coach? Spagnuolo.
The knock on McDaniels is the Belichick coaching tree has not thrived out on its own. That is a concern but I think McDaniels has enough experience now to create his own identity. Belichick graduates McDaniels, Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Jim Schwartz and Bill O’Brien have one NFL playoff victory among them. Charlie Weis failed at Notre Dame and Kansas. Of course, Nick Saban worked for Belichick in Cleveland and won a national championships at LSU and four more at Alabama. Kirk Ferentz, another Belichick guy, has been the long-time coach at Iowa.
Meanwhile, the Parcells coaching tree, led by Belichick, Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton, has combined to win eight Super Bowls.
The Giants have placed McDaniels at the top of their list. Here’s why this makes a lot of sense:
– As of Monday, the Colts were the other team to request permission to interview McDaniels. Despite the chance to coach Andrew Luck, I would be shocked if McDaniels took a job with the Colts. Why? Brady and McDaniels are like brothers. The Colts are the team that complained to the NFL during the 2014 AFC Championship game that the Patriots were taking air out of the footballs. Next thing Brady’s reputation was damaged in Deflategate. Brady will never forgive the Colts and the NFL and I don’t think McDaniels would work for Indy.
– Belichick still loves the Giants. In “A Football Life,” he cried talking about his feelings for the organization and the 12 years he spent with them.. He did not give McDaniels the Mangini treatment when he went to Denver and would surely endorse him working for the Giants.
– The Giants have the second pick in the draft. Assuming Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen declare to come out by the Jan. 15 deadline, Big Blue is likely to take the QB that Cleveland doesn’t. That will give McDaniels the opportunity to develop a quarterback much like he did with Jimmy Garoppolo in New England. In the meantime, he has Eli Manning as a transition quarterback and Davis Webb as another QB to develop.
– Despite the turmoil of the 3-13 season, the Giants are still a well-respected organization with a lot of tradition. Gettleman was the Giants pro personnel director when they beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl with McDaniels on the New England staff and as the Panthers GM he added key pieces to the Carolina team that was 15-1 in 2015 and went to the Super Bowl. He gives the Giants credibility in the search.
Does Josh McDaniels want to give up the comfort of Tom Brady and the Patriots organization?
McDaniels has four young children and not wanting to relocate to the West Coast was a factor why he withdrew from consideration with the 49ers last year. He also interviewed with the Rams and Jaguars. In the past, he interviewed with the Browns and who can blame him for not wanting that job.
The Giants provide McDaniels with his best opportunity for career advancement – but they have to pry him out of New England.